One of my FB friends has recently brought up the subject of the early Church’s use of Roman Imperial geo-political structures to organize Church jurisdiction. One of the take aways, by way of testing ideas, was that the primatial jurisdiction of the early Roman Church could have derived its organization, and perhaps even essence, from the secular world. A sort of non-divine post-Apostolic creation of the Church in order to better manage ecclesial affairs. Here below is a snip of my comments on this, and I figured it could be shared at large for further dialogue, as I know this is a common discussion in recent exchanges. Let me put my cards down here. I think that the origin of power in St. Peter the Apostle and his successor is the transaction that was made between St Peter and Christ Himself when He stood in the flesh before him. There was no Roman geo-political structure that was factored in at the time nor in the means of said transaction. Therefore, St. Peter enjoys immediate and direct jurisdiction over every baptized sheep in the fold of Christ simply by the direct word of Christ.Now, it would have been more than silly and stupid to organize the primacy of the Church of Rome according to an immediate structure, such that everyone answered directly to Rome, or that proximate and local regions were powerless to manage their own affairs. Not even did the Ceasar Augustus operate the Roman Empire this way. Even St. Paul, when he stood before Porcius Festus, the procurator of Judea, said “I appeal to Ceasar” (Καίσαρα ἐπικαλοῦμαι), c.f. Acts 25:11, because he knew that he could be examined by a higher court than that of Jerusalem. Everyone knew that appellate jurisdiction was the only way both charity and proper order can be had. This is social philosophy 101, and the principle of subsidiary has been supported by the Catholic Church’s social doctrine, even with regard to the Church. Therefore, the primacy of Rome was modeled in the appellate structure, and it was best to be maintained ONLY in this way. Only in extreme circumstances should it be that it is otherwise. If this restriction is not based on divine law (though I would argue it is), it is certainly based on practical government. If Rome was the sole judge, like Moses was initially thought to be, then as problems mount, no resolutions would be reached in time for there to make it worth anyone’s time. A hierarchy is logically and naturally necessary .However, when we get under the skin of such a structure, the power of St. Peter’s successor is not something that came through the Roman imperial system that the Church adopted for canonical organization. Nor is it that St. Peter received a part of the power of primacy, only then to be further managed by Councils which adopted the geo-political principles. On the contrary, as the 1st Vatican Council taught, following Lyons (1274) and Florence (1439), “full power” (plenitudo potestas) was given directly from the mouth of Jesus to St. Peter, and such investiture flows directly to his successors. And so while the Church may have temporally adopted Roman geo-politics as an outward garment to implement the essential apostolic governance of the Church, this doesn’t mean that their origins collapse together as if they were both from the same principle. So what we have here is a distinction between the power of the Petrine office (officium) and the way it it is operative (munus) in the real life of the Church… which I think should always be under the limit of appellation in ordinary and normal circumstances. I understand this is not exactly how things are done today, despite the fact that appeals still go through nunio’s unto the Rome, and is often first heard either in the Apostolic Signatura or the Roman Rota or the CDF (etc,etc), and so I’m sure there is plenty of room for reform. But I wanted to say all of this to show that the immediacy, directness, and ordinary-ness of jurisdictional authority over the universal Church does not entail that appellate structures are not necessary. On the contrary, it is necessary. That being said, the Petrine jurisdicition retains its prerogative in case when the safety and security of the Church requires an immediate action.